Never one to shy away from a challenge, Peterborough native Travis Samuel balances the rigorous training and travel demands of a professional cyclist with his studies at Trent University. Faced with racing plans dramatically changed for the upcoming season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 25-year-old Business and Economics student and his teammates dedicated themselves to a new effort, a 24-hour continuous indoor cycling event, with the goal of fundraising for community hospitals and a possible shot at a Guinness World Record.
“I was all for launching a 24-hour ride for raising money for our frontline health care workers with my team Toronto Hustle,” says Mr. Samuel. “As I started to do more and more research on what it was going to take to break the record, I started realizing that I could do it if I had everything go perfectly.”
Through online cycling software, Mr. Samuel was able to ride virtually with his teammates and cyclists from around the world. Throughout the record attempt, members of the cycling community rode alongside on their home trainers encouraging him along the way.
“I think the darkest period was between midnight and 2 am where all of my friends in North America had gone to sleep, and my friends in Europe hadn't quite woken up yet. It was a pretty lonely time and hard mentally!“
After 24 hours in the saddle, Mr. Samuel, mentally and physically exhausted, climbed off his bike completing an incredible 1,008 km, breaking the previous Guinness World Record. “I think cracking above 1,000km in 24 hours for the first time in history can be very similar to the sub 4four minute mile or sub two2 hour marathon, it's been one of those barriers people have tried to break for a while but haven't been able to,” explains Mr. Samuel, who maintained an average speed over 42 km/h for the entire event.
The community-driven event was also an amazing success in exceeding its initial fundraising goal of $10,000. After the campaign was completed, over $210,000 was raised in support of the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation to provide the necessary equipment to support frontline healthcare workers directly involved in COVID-19 patient care.
“I'm pretty speechless in what has happened over the past two weeks with the #CrushCOVID campaign,” stated Mr. Samuel, “I just hope that our fundraiser will help ease the stress a bit off our healthcare workers.”
While Mr. Samuel does not have any immediate plans for breaking further records, he will keep himself busy preparing for the return of his cycling season while completing his third year at Trent with online courses this summer.